Welcome to the twenty-first installment of Right Down Euclid’s “Weekly Roundtable.” This Friday Dan Pilar and I sit down and discuss the latest trending topics concerning your Cleveland Cavaliers and the NBA. We answer three questions concerning the hometown Wine and Gold and two questions surrounding the league.
Today we will be discussing Anderson Varejao’s value, Cleveland’s fourth quarter woes, the Luke Harnagody/Kevin Jones swap, David Stern’s comments toward San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Rajon Rondo’s recent antics.
First Question: How valuable is Anderson Varejao to this Cavaliers team?
Zachary Kolesar: Right now Varejao is ranked 11th in the NBA right now in PER, with a score of 23.91. Wild Thing is extremely valuable to the Cavaliers, now more than ever. Looking into the future, I think Andy would be a wonderful and energetic bench play for Kyrie Irving once he starts to age some. He’s not showing any signs of that now, so the Cavs can rest easy. He’s everything that an NBA superstar would want, so it is in Cleveland’s best interest to keep him around even once he becomes a role player.
Dan Pilar: We wouldn’t have a win without him. Suns coach Alvin Gentry said that he plays every possession like it’s his last. The extra possessions he brings to a team are priceless. His energy has been great for this young Cavs’ team. Trade him or not, I can’t give you an answer; that’s something for Chris Grant to decide. His price tag has gone way up, so finding a willing buyer is the hard part now. But if he stays, you can be for damn sure you’ll see his jersey up in the rafters at the Quicken Loans Arena shortly after his retirement.
Second Question: What is the solution to Cleveland’s fourth quarter woes?
ZK: Sadly there is no quick fix in sight without Kyrie Irving in the layup. Since he came to Cleveland he has been the player for the Wine and Gold who could step up when they needed him the most and deliver buckets down the stretch. What the Cavaliers can do without Irving in the lineup is give Varejao the freedom to shoot late in the game. He is by far the Cavs’ best shooter this season, and has looked almost automatic from the field. Andy is the key right now.
DP: Get stops defensively. During the three-game road trip we play against Orlando, Miami and Memphis, we played great on both ends of the court for three quarters. Then when the fourth quarter hits it just seems the Cavs weren’t trying at all on defense. The inability to close games out has really killed this team, but you can’t be too worried about it. We have a bunch of 20-some year olds who make up our roster. They’ll continue to face the rough times and will learn from them, and grow as a team.
Third Question: Will recently signed power forward Kevin Jones have a chance to make an impact with the Cavs?
ZK: Don’t look too much into this, but I do believe that Jones is back where he belongs. His talents were overlooked in the NBA draft, and now he is getting a possible chance at playing time at the highest level. Jones, in my opinion, is a better talent than players above him such as Jon Leuer, who doesn’t see much playing time to begin with. I don’t think we will see much of the former Mountaineer, but I wouldn’t be shocked because Byron Scott is trying to find a solution to the bench woes.
DP: His numbers were outstanding in Canton. Obviously those numbers won’t translate over, but expect him to be an improvement. He hasn’t been able to get much production out of our power forward position and Jones is a very versatile scorer. During his career at West Virginia he would single handily beat opponents and was definitely the most outstanding player in the Big East. How he didn’t win player of the year is a travesty. I expect him to bring another dimension to this offense. He is just as dangerous outside on the perimeter as he is rebounding.
Fourth Question: What do you make of NBA commissioner David Stern’s statement regarding the San Antonio Spurs sitting their stars against the Miami Heat?
ZK: At first I applauded Stern’s actions, but then I quickly changed my opinion. Would the commissioner have cared if the Spurs were going up against the Cavaliers or the Milwaukee Bucks? Probably not, but because this was a Thursday night game, something that has become a staple for the NBA, he had to act. The game was close and exciting anyways, so Stern looked mighty foolish on Thursday. It is Gregg Popovich’s team, so he can do whatever he likes with his squad.
DP: I can understand sitting some of his players because they were on the back end of a tough road trip, but I think Popovich over-stepped his bounds by sending them home on a plane early. I expect a fine for the Spurs and Coach Popovich. I don’t think Stern can suspend anyone in this position because I don’t think the NBA rules will allow him. Popovich is one of the most respected coaches in the NBA, so I don’t expect the punishment to be too harsh.
Fifth Question: Is Rajon Rondo a poison to the Boston Celtics?
ZK: Rondo has been padding his stats since who knows when, and it was clearly visible that he was putting chasing the record this season before winning. The crafty point guard would dish out six assists in the first quarter and then have an easy path to getting into the double digits. A fight with Kris Humphires stopped all record talk, and resulted in an ejection and suspension. With Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett aging, Rondo needs to grow up and become the floor general that is best for this team.
DP: Poison? He’s the glue for that team. No way would they have gotten as far as they did in the playoffs last year without him. Without him, they’re an average team. People saw malice in the Humphries foul. I saw a shifting of powers. Since Garnett got in Boston, he was the leader; on the court and off. With his age and decline in play, that’s no longer the case. Rondo saw this as an opportunity to stick up for one of HIS players. I’m okay with him getting in the face of the bigger Humphries. I mean, Humphries had to have seen this coming, he is the most hated man in the NBA according to Forbes.
Make sure to check back next week to see what Chris Manning and Jerry Bulone have to discuss at the “Weekly Roundtable.”